Frozen peas and EU Withdrawal Bill

So there I was putting some peas into the freezer on the weekend and I could not help thinking about the EU Withdrawal Bill (yes I know.)

The reason is because of the analogy set out by the Welsh Government Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford last week that all this talk of holding patterns of EU legislation after Brexit is a bit like putting the laws into a freezer.

It got me thinking about taking it one stage further with an imaginary scene.

Bear with me, here goes: for this to work you need to see me as the UK Government and my wife on the other side of the kitchen as the Welsh Government, and of course the frozen peas as EU powers covering devolved areas after Brexit.

As I open the freezer, my wife shouts out: "Hold on, before you do that we need to agree on what you are putting in the freezer, how long it stays in there and how it is taken out."

Picking a fight

My response would be something like: "I hear what you are saying but we do not have time for this right now, I have got to get things ready for these to go in right now.

"These peas have got to be frozen and if there is any delay it could end up costing us money."

Oh and by the way, I add, you really do not have anything to worry about because we will get an agreement, this is only a temporary measure.

She would argue back, accusing me of picking a fight on an issue where non exists, saying that all she wants is a fair say on the freezing arrangements.

In the meantime, she is far from convinced by my assurance and so, thinking this is something that could become a permanent habit, has already got her laptop out and has started ordering a new freezer of her own online (this could be the Welsh Government's proposed continuity bill, or to give its proper title, the Law Derived from the European Union (Wales) Bill.).


Also in the meantime, I have started to put the peas in the main freezer (this could be the UK Government continuing to put forward its amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill in the House of Lords).

The suspension of disbelief is obviously that the peas have defrosted by now, but the next phase of the stand-off is a full sit-down discussion in Westminster to navigate a way through - which is what will happen on Wednesday when Theresa May meets Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones.

The one obvious reflection from anyone observing events in my kitchen is the clear of lack of trust on display between all concerned.

A final thought: it is strange to think of the seismic political shift of Brexit and yet here we are drilling down into the detail about the devolution of food labelling, or as Mark Drakeford was talking about during an appearance in front of the constitutional and legislative affairs committee: how to preserve the eel population.

But maybe that is the point: Brexit, according to some, will offer big-picture opportunities for the Welsh economy but there will also be plenty of bureaucratic hurdles to overcome before we get there.

And that inevitably prompts the claim from Remainers who say this is a far cry from the freedoms from rules and regulations promised in the referendum campaign and the counter claim from Brexiteers that these are details that can and should be dealt with if there is some common sense on display.